By Nishi Jain
Ever since Mark Zuckerberg changed his Facebook profile picture to a tricolor shade to show support to the Digital India campaign by the Modi government,
we Indians have been following suit. Our timelines are flooded with tricolor profile pictures created fromfb.com/supportdigitalindia. Now like everybody, you may think this is a gesture to support digital India. But it is not.
Truth is that this is a subtle, albeit clever, tactic to promote Facebook’s new initiative called internet.org. Facebook, in collaboration with 6 companies, namely, Samsung, Ericsson, Media Tek, Opera Software Nokia and Qualcomm, launched internet.org that plans to provide free internet services to developing countries.
Now it may sound like a great philanthropic idea, one that would help digitalize even remote villages, it actually is a blow to internet freedom and net neutrality. Here’s why:
The free internet service will be available only to Reliance users, since the partnership is with Reliance. And the “free access” that is being much talked about it only to Facebook and its 50 partner sites, which is nothing but manipulating internet users with a carrot-stick tactic.
Some time back, when the country had risen in support of net neutrality signing petitions to save it, big players like The Times of India and NDTV had pulled out of internet.org citing the violation of net neutrality.
So, if you think that by changing your profile picture you are supporting the cause of a digitalized India, don’t. You are unconsciously helping Facebook kill net neutrality.